ROSCOSMOS - Soyuz TMA-12M Mission patch.
March 27, 2014
The Soyuz TMA-12M vehicle docked to the International Space Station at 7:53 p.m. EDT (23.53 GMT), 252 miles above northern Brazil near the northern coast of South America. Aboard the space station, Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency -- the first Japanese astronaut to lead an expedition -- Richard Mastracchio of NASA and Mikhail Tyurin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) will welcome Soyuz crew members Steve Swanson of NASA and Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos.
Image above: The Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft is just a few meters away from docking.Image Credit: NASA TV / Screen capture: Orbiter.ch Aerospace.
The original plan for the Soyuz to arrive at the station in just four orbits over six hours defaulted to the more traditional 34-orbit plan after the Soyuz spacecraft failed to conduct an engine firing early in the rendezvous sequence following launch to refine its orbit.
Expedition 39 Docks to Station After Two Day Trip. Video Credit: NASA TV.
The Soyuz crew was safe the entire time as flight controllers replanned their approach and rendezvous. The two day launch-to-docking profile was the normal Soyuz mission profile used for years before Russian space officials began single-day launch to docking efforts in March 2013.
The crew will go through a series of leak and pressure checks between the two spacecraft before finally opening the hatches to the station. The new station residents will enter Poisk and greet Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio of NASA and Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos.
Image above: Expedition 39 crew members wave after their final press conference before their Tuesday night lift off. Image Credit: ROSCOSMOS.
After a welcoming ceremony and congratulatory words with family, friends and mission officials, the newly comprised crew will conduct a mandatory safety orientation. All six crew members then will have an off-duty day Friday as they relax, having shifted their schedules to accommodate the busy launch and docking activities.
As is customary, Swanson, Skvortsov and Artemyev will have several days set aside to familiarize themselves with their new home in space. The new trio will also assist the veteran crewmates as they adjust to living and working in space for six months.
Swanson, Skvortsov and Artemyev are scheduled to return home in September as Expedition 40 crew members. They will officially become Expedition 40 when Expedition 39 crew members Wakata, Mastracchio and Tyurin end their mission and undock in their Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft in May for their return to Earth.
For more information about the International Space Station (ISS), visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html
Images (mentioned), Video (mentioned) Text, Credit: NASA.